Unless you are my friend Genevieve—who is the exception that proves the rule—you can not blow out your hair the way a professional stylist can. And you’ll never be able to. Not only have the pros spent more hours than you have styling hair, but they’ve got certain advantages in terms of positioning that enable them to do things (such as face the back of your head) that you simply can’t. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll never achieve an almost-as-good-as-Genevieve-level home blowout. For the last few weeks I’ve been visiting Gina, a stylist at New York City’s Blow salon (in the name of research, of course), to learn some tricks to make a home-blowout yield more Genevieve-like results.
1. Towel- or air-dry your hair really well, not just well. You can’t style soaking-wet hair. At the salon, Gina does this by shooting air at my hair with the hairdryer set on medium (so as not to fry it for any longer than necessary) until it’s about 80-percent dry. Then add styler of choice. If you massage it through sopping-wet hair, it dilutes the product, rendering it semi-useless.
2. Section your hair. Even if you don’t have those handy clips the stylist use, put the top half of your hair in a ponytail while your blow-dry the bottom half. The point is, the smaller the sections of hair you work with, the better the results. If you can, divide your hair into six-to-eight sections, using barrettes or ponytail holders.
3. Be thorough. Really dry each section before you move onto the next. If you don’t, the moisture will permeate the surrounding hair and undo all your hard work.
4. Blowdry with a flat-backed brush (regardless of your hair’s texture or length; for a basic quickie blowout, it will suffice) and the nozzle of your dryer pointed down toward your ends. Even when you’re up by your roots, point that tip down or you (and everyone else) will see a little halo of fly-aways around your head whenever you are backlit.
5. Pat yourself down. When you are done drying every section of your hair, you can spritz it with hairspray. (Truth time: I don’t use hairspray unless I have to shellac an updo in place since I am a hair twirler and I don’t like the feel of anything in my hair.) Or, do as Gina does: Rub your hands together quickly then smooth them over the top layer of hair to batten down any fluffy bits. I don’t know why this works—maybe the slight moisture grounds the static?—but it does.
As for reaching the back of your head, you’re on your own there. For what it’s worth, Genevieve has long arms.